It’s also just a warm and tasty sauerkraut soup that very comforting in winter times, that my grandma used to make for dinner very often when growing up (sauerkraut is quintessential to Lithuanian cuisine) but that’s no where as exiting to read as about it’s healing effects for hangover.
There are numerous versions of this soup in Lithuania, but it always has sauerkraut which is the ingredient here that makes all the magic happen. Indeed this soup is so popular that it is very frequently served on the second day of the wedding for breakfast (a traditional Lithuanian wedding is a three day affair, though few last this long nowadays) to kick all the guests back into the partying mood again.
When I first set of to make this soup, I had the best intentions of making my own sauerkraut for it, after all my grandma has been making it that for decades (never once bought it) so why could’t I do. Well, that was a good idea at least, as my cabbages with carrots fermenting comfortably on the heater never got to the point of sauerkraut and after a couple of times I did give up. Afterwards my grandma explained that not all cabbages are suitable for it, so I might try next year again.
Anyway, one of the reasons I wanted to make my own sauerkraut was that the one I remember eating at home was much sweeter (and nicer) comparing to the one I could by in supermarket here, hence when making such soup at home in Lithuania I think my grandma had to use much less sugar than me to achieve the sweet sour effect, but it’s the end result that matters (which I did achieve eventually).
I should also note that same as most dishes involving tomatoes is some capacity, the taste is much better the second day, so it is perfect to make in advance to re-heat. So without further talk, here’s the recipe:
- 150g bacon, diced
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 500 grams sauerkraut
- 2.5 litres water
- 2-4 tablespoons sugar
- freshly grounded pepper
- Creme fraiche
- Heat a heavy based pot and start frying the bacon. When it releases enough fat add the onions and gently fry for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the grated carrots and continue to fry for 3 more minutes.
- Then add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds.
- Pour over the the water, add the sauerkraut, bring to boil.
- Add the sugar (start with 2 tablespoons) and let it simmer for 30-50 minutes.
- Taste, if it's too sour add more sugar, salt, pepper. and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Taste, and if needed adjust the seasoning again.
- Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche! Enjoy!